Ethiopia Is Surging The Tourism Industry With Visa Free for Kenya and Djibouti and Visa on Arrival Entry Policy For 120 Countries Including USA, Australia, UK and Schengen Nations

Ethiopia is making significant strides in boosting its tourism industry with a Visa Free for Kenya and Djibouti and Visa on Arrival Entry Policy For 120 Countries Including India, USA, Australia, UK and Schengen Nations.

Ethiopia Is Surging The Tourism Industry With Visa Free for Kenya and Djibouti and Visa on Arrival Entry Policy For 120 Countries Including USA, Australia, UK and Schengen Nations
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Ethiopia is making significant strides in boosting its tourism industry with a Visa Free for Kenya and Djibouti and Visa on Arrival Entry Policy For 120 Countries Including India, USA, Australia, UK and Schengen Nations. This initiative aims to position Ethiopia as a premier tourist destination in Africa, leveraging its rich cultural heritage, diverse landscapes, and historical landmarks. The visa-free policy is expected to attract a surge of international visitors, stimulating economic growth and enhancing the country’s global tourism footprint.

TTW Editor in Chief Mr. Anup Kumar Keshan said: I must say that Ethiopia’s decision to allow visa-free entry for citizens of 120 countries is a game-changer for its tourism industry. This isn’t just about more people coming to see the sights; it’s also driving business travel and making Ethiopia a top spot for international meetings and events. Luxury travel is also on the rise, with more visitors seeking high-end experiences in Ethiopia’s top-tier hotels and resorts. Corporate travel is being significantly bolstered as companies find Ethiopia an attractive destination for conferences and business gatherings. What I love most is Ethiopia’s commitment to sustainable tourism. They’re not just focusing on the popular spots but also promoting lesser-known destinations, ensuring a richer and more responsible travel experience. This strategy is not only elevating Ethiopia’s global profile but also significantly contributing to its economy. It’s a win-win for everyone involved

Ethiopia Tourism Report 2023-2024: Domestic and International Insights

Ethiopia’s international tourism sector has also experienced notable growth, thanks to the visa-free entry policy and enhanced promotional activities.

  • Visitor Arrivals: According to the World Bank, Ethiopia welcomed around 800,000 international tourists in 2023, a significant increase from previous years. Key source markets include the USA, UK, Germany, France, and Australia.
  • Economic Contributions: International tourism generated approximately $3.7 billion in revenue in 2023, contributing 5.6% to Ethiopia’s GDP. The tourism sector also provided employment for about 2 million people, both directly and indirectly​

Top Visitors by Nationality

  • USA: Approximately 150,000 visitors from the USA travel to Ethiopia annually. American tourists are drawn to Ethiopia’s historical sites, cultural experiences, and wildlife.
  • UK: Around 120,000 visitors from the UK visit Ethiopia each year. British tourists appreciate Ethiopia’s rich history, unique landscapes, and vibrant culture.
  • Germany: Germany accounts for about 110,000 visitors annually. German tourists are particularly interested in Ethiopia’s natural attractions, such as the Simien Mountains and Rift Valley lakes.
  • France: France contributes approximately 100,000 visitors each year. French tourists are attracted to Ethiopia’s historical landmarks, including Lalibela and Axum.
  • Australia: Roughly 80,000 visitors from Australia travel to Ethiopia annually. Australian tourists seek adventure, wildlife, and cultural experiences in Ethiopia.

Domestic Tourism

Domestic tourism in Ethiopia has shown steady growth, driven by the country’s diverse attractions and government initiatives promoting local travel.

  • Visitor Statistics: In 2023, domestic tourism saw an increase of approximately 15% compared to previous years. Major domestic tourist destinations include Addis Ababa, Lalibela, Bahir Dar, and the Simien Mountains.
  • Economic Impact: Domestic tourism contributed significantly to the local economy, generating an estimated $1.2 billion in revenue in 2023. This growth is attributed to increased marketing efforts and improved infrastructure.

Visa-Free Entry for Kenya and Djibouti Nationals

Citizens of Kenya and Djibouti can enjoy the convenience of visa-free travel to Ethiopia for tourism purposes. This agreement facilitates easier access and strengthens regional ties between these neighboring countries.

Kenyan Nationals:

  • Duration of Stay: Up to one year
  • Purpose: Tourism

Kenyan citizens are allowed to stay in Ethiopia for up to one year without the need for a visa. This generous duration supports long-term visits, encouraging tourism and fostering closer cultural and economic connections between the two nations.

Djibouti Nationals:

  • Duration of Stay: Up to three months
  • Purpose: Tourism

Djibouti citizens can stay in Ethiopia visa-free for up to three months. This period is ample for exploring the rich cultural heritage and natural beauty of Ethiopia, promoting regional tourism and mutual understanding.

Countries that can visit Ethiopia Visa On Arrival

Czech Republic
New Zealand
South Korea
Saudi Arabia
United States of America
North Macedonia
United Arab Emirates
Dominican Republic
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Costa Rica
Cape Verde
Saint Lucia
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Vatican City
Solomon Islands
Trinidad and Tobago
San Marino
Papua New Guinea
South Africa

Overview of Key Ethiopian Airports

Ethiopia’s airports play a crucial role in supporting the tourism surge, providing essential infrastructure for international and domestic travelers. This section highlights key airports and their capacities.

Addis Ababa Bole International Airport

  • Main Hub: Addis Ababa Bole International Airport is Ethiopia’s primary international gateway, serving as a hub for Ethiopian Airlines.
  • Passenger Traffic: The airport handles approximately 10 million passengers annually, making it one of the busiest airports in Africa.
  • Facilities: The airport features modern facilities, including multiple terminals, lounges, duty-free shops, and dining options. Recent expansions have increased its capacity to accommodate more passengers and flights.

Dire Dawa International Airport

  • Passenger Traffic: Dire Dawa International Airport serves around 500,000 passengers annually. It is a key gateway for travelers visiting eastern Ethiopia and neighboring countries.
  • Facilities: The airport offers essential services and amenities, including passenger terminals, cargo facilities, and ground transportation options.

Bahir Dar Airport

  • Gateway to Lake Tana: Bahir Dar Airport is a major entry point for tourists visiting Lake Tana and the Blue Nile Falls.
  • Passenger Traffic: The airport serves approximately 300,000 passengers annually, providing domestic and limited international flights.
  • Facilities: The airport features passenger terminals, cargo facilities, and transportation services, catering to tourists and business travelers.

Axum Airport

  • Historical Significance: Axum Airport serves tourists visiting the ancient city of Axum, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Passenger Traffic: The airport handles around 250,000 passengers annually, primarily domestic tourists and international visitors interested in Ethiopia’s history.
  • Facilities: The airport offers basic facilities, including passenger terminals and ground transportation services.

Lalibela Airport

  • Key for Historical Tourism: Lalibela Airport is crucial for tourists visiting the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela.
  • Passenger Traffic: The airport serves approximately 200,000 passengers annually, facilitating travel to one of Ethiopia’s most iconic destinations.
  • Facilities: The airport provides essential services, including passenger terminals and transportation options, ensuring a smooth travel experience for tourists.

Infrastructure Investments

Ethiopia has made significant investments in infrastructure to support the growing tourism industry. This section explores key infrastructure projects and their impact on tourism.

Airport Expansions

Ethiopia is investing heavily in airport expansions to accommodate the increasing number of international and domestic travelers.

  • Addis Ababa Bole International Airport: A $400 million expansion project is underway to increase the airport’s capacity and enhance the passenger experience. The project includes the construction of new terminals, runways, and support facilities.
  • Regional Airports: Investments are also being made in regional airports, such as Dire Dawa, Bahir Dar, Axum, and Lalibela, to improve their facilities and increase capacity. These upgrades will facilitate smoother travel for tourists exploring different parts of Ethiopia.

Road Improvements

Improving road infrastructure is essential for enhancing accessibility to key tourist destinations.

  • Investment in Road Networks: Ethiopia has allocated $250 million for road improvements, focusing on routes connecting major tourist sites. These improvements aim to reduce travel times and enhance safety for tourists.
  • Key Projects:
    • Addis Ababa to Lalibela: Upgrades to the road network between Addis Ababa and Lalibela will facilitate easier access to the rock-hewn churches. This route is critical for tourists who prefer overland travel, providing scenic views and cultural experiences along the way.
    • Bahir Dar to Gondar: Road improvements between Bahir Dar and Gondar will enhance connectivity between these two popular tourist destinations. The improved roads are expected to reduce travel time by up to 30%, making it more convenient for tourists to visit both locations within a single trip.

Railway Development

In addition to airports and roads, Ethiopia is investing in its railway network to provide more travel options for tourists.

  • Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway: This railway line connects Addis Ababa to the port of Djibouti, offering an alternative mode of transportation for tourists. The 752 km railway, operational since 2018, has significantly reduced travel time between the two cities and is part of Ethiopia’s broader strategy to enhance its transportation infrastructure.

Major Airlines in Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s aviation sector is a critical component of its tourism industry, providing essential connectivity for international and domestic travelers. This section highlights the major airlines operating in Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Airlines

Ethiopian Airlines is the national carrier and the largest airline in Africa.

  • Destinations: Ethiopian Airlines serves over 120 international destinations across Africa, Europe, Asia, the Americas, and the Middle East. The airline also offers extensive domestic flights, connecting major cities and tourist destinations within Ethiopia.
  • Fleet: The airline operates a modern fleet of over 100 aircraft, including Boeing 787 Dreamliners, Airbus A350s, and Boeing 737s. This fleet ensures efficient and comfortable travel for passengers.
  • Services: Ethiopian Airlines offers a range of services, including in-flight entertainment, premium class options, and frequent flyer programs. The airline’s Skytrax 4-star rating reflects its commitment to quality and customer satisfaction.

Other Airlines

In addition to Ethiopian Airlines, several international carriers operate flights to and from Ethiopia.

  • Lufthansa: Lufthansa offers flights between Addis Ababa and Frankfurt, connecting Ethiopia to one of Europe’s major aviation hubs.
  • Emirates: Emirates operates flights between Addis Ababa and Dubai, providing convenient connections to destinations worldwide.
  • Turkish Airlines: Turkish Airlines offers flights between Addis Ababa and Istanbul, connecting Ethiopia to numerous international destinations.
  • Qatar Airways: Qatar Airways operates flights between Addis Ababa and Doha, providing access to its extensive global network.

Top Hotels and Must-Visit Places in Ethiopia

Ethiopia offers a range of luxurious accommodations and must-visit sites that cater to different types of travelers. This section provides an overview of the top hotels and must-visit places in Ethiopia.

Top 5 Hotels in Ethiopia

  1. Sheraton Addis (Addis Ababa):
    • Description: The Sheraton Addis is renowned for its luxury and comfort. The hotel offers a range of amenities, including multiple dining options, a spa, and an outdoor pool.
    • Features: 293 rooms and suites, fine dining restaurants, fitness center, and conference facilities.
    • Visitor Experience: Guests appreciate the hotel’s elegant design, exceptional service, and central location in Addis Ababa.
  2. Radisson Blu (Addis Ababa):
    • Description: The Radisson Blu is popular among business travelers and tourists alike. The hotel features modern rooms, a fitness center, and excellent dining options.
    • Features: 212 rooms, international restaurant, meeting rooms, and business services.
    • Visitor Experience: Guests highlight the hotel’s contemporary design, comfortable accommodations, and proximity to major attractions.
  3. Haile Resort (Hawassa):
    • Description: Haile Resort is known for its scenic lakeside views and relaxing atmosphere. The resort offers a range of recreational activities and dining options.
    • Features: 126 rooms, lakeside restaurant, spa, and outdoor activities.
    • Visitor Experience: Guests enjoy the resort’s tranquil setting, friendly staff, and diverse recreational offerings.
  4. Kuriftu Resort and Spa (Bahir Dar):
    • Description: Kuriftu Resort and Spa offers a luxurious experience by Lake Tana. The resort features traditional Ethiopian architecture, a spa, and fine dining.
    • Features: 118 rooms, waterfront restaurant, spa services, and boat tours.
    • Visitor Experience: Guests appreciate the resort’s unique design, serene environment, and excellent service.
  5. Marriott Executive Apartments (Addis Ababa):
    • Description: The Marriott Executive Apartments are ideal for long-term stays. The property offers spacious apartments, a fitness center, and a restaurant.
    • Features: 108 apartments, full-service restaurant, fitness facilities, and business services.
    • Visitor Experience: Guests value the apartments’ comfort, well-equipped kitchens, and central location.

Top 10 Tourist Destinations in Ethiopia

1. Lalibela

Description: Lalibela is renowned for its rock-hewn churches, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites. These churches are carved from solid rock and date back to the 12th century, showcasing extraordinary medieval architecture and religious significance.

Must-See Sites:

  • Church of Saint George
  • Church of Saint Mary
  • Church of the Saviour of the World

Visitor Experience: Tourists are captivated by the architectural marvels and the spiritual atmosphere of Lalibela. The intricate carvings and the serene environment provide a profound and memorable experience.

2. Simien Mountains

Description: The Simien Mountains National Park is known for its dramatic landscapes, unique wildlife, and hiking opportunities. This park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and offers breathtaking views of jagged mountain peaks, deep valleys, and unique wildlife.

Must-See Sites:

  • Ras Dashen (Ethiopia’s highest peak)
  • Gelada baboons
  • Jinbar Waterfall

Visitor Experience: Visitors enjoy the stunning views, challenging hikes, and encounters with rare wildlife, such as the Gelada baboons and Ethiopian wolves. The rugged terrain and scenic vistas make it a paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers.

3. Aksum

Description: Aksum is an ancient city with immense historical significance, known for its archaeological sites and towering obelisks. Once the center of the powerful Aksumite Empire, it boasts a rich heritage and numerous ancient relics.

Must-See Sites:

  • The Obelisk of Aksum
  • Church of St. Mary of Zion
  • Queen of Sheba’s Palace

Visitor Experience: Tourists are fascinated by the city’s rich history and impressive ruins. The towering obelisks and the ancient church of St. Mary of Zion, which is believed to house the Ark of the Covenant, offer a deep dive into Ethiopia’s storied past.

4. Gondar

Description: Gondar is famous for its castles and historical architecture. Known as the “Camelot of Africa,” the city served as the imperial capital of Ethiopia in the 17th century and is home to many medieval structures that showcase the grandeur of Ethiopian emperors.

Must-See Sites:

  • Fasil Ghebbi (Royal Enclosure)
  • Debre Berhan Selassie Church
  • Fasilides’ Bath

Visitor Experience: Visitors appreciate the well-preserved castles and the historical significance of Gondar. The Fasil Ghebbi complex, with its numerous palaces and churches, offers a fascinating glimpse into Ethiopia’s royal history, while the intricate frescoes of Debre Berhan Selassie Church leave a lasting impression.

5. Lake Tana and Blue Nile Falls

Description: Lake Tana, the largest lake in Ethiopia, is the source of the Blue Nile. The Blue Nile Falls, locally known as Tis Issat (Water that Smokes), are a spectacular natural wonder and a major attraction in the region.

Must-See Sites:

  • Monasteries on the islands of Lake Tana
  • Blue Nile Falls
  • Bahir Dar city

Visitor Experience: Tourists enjoy boat tours on Lake Tana, exploring ancient monasteries with their unique manuscripts and religious artifacts. The awe-inspiring Blue Nile Falls offer a majestic view, and the vibrant city of Bahir Dar provides a perfect base for exploring the area.

6. Harar Jugol

Description: Harar Jugol, the old walled city of Harar, is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Known for its narrow alleyways and traditional Harari houses, it is considered the fourth holiest city of Islam.

Must-See Sites:

  • The city walls and gates
  • Harar City Museum
  • Rimbaud’s House

Visitor Experience: Visitors are enchanted by the labyrinthine streets, vibrant markets, and rich cultural heritage. The evening hyena feeding ritual is a unique experience, and the museums provide insight into the city’s historical significance.

7. The Danakil Depression

Description: The Danakil Depression, one of the hottest and lowest places on Earth, is known for its otherworldly landscapes, including salt flats, active volcanoes, and colorful mineral deposits.

Must-See Sites:

  • Erta Ale Volcano
  • Dallol hydrothermal fields
  • Lake Asale

Visitor Experience: Tourists are mesmerized by the surreal scenery and the extreme environment. Visiting Erta Ale, an active volcano with a persistent lava lake, and the vibrant colors of Dallol make for an unforgettable adventure.

8. Omo Valley

Description: The Omo Valley is a culturally rich region, home to numerous indigenous tribes with distinct traditions and lifestyles. It offers a unique opportunity to experience the diverse cultures of Ethiopia.

Must-See Sites:

  • Mursi Tribe
  • Hamar Tribe
  • Konso Cultural Landscape

Visitor Experience: Visitors are deeply moved by the cultural diversity and traditional practices of the local tribes. The chance to witness traditional ceremonies, dances, and market days provides an authentic cultural immersion.

9. Bale Mountains National Park

Description: Bale Mountains National Park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and hikers. The park features diverse ecosystems, including alpine meadows, dense forests, and sweeping plateaus.

Must-See Sites:

  • Sanetti Plateau
  • Harenna Forest
  • Ethiopian wolves

Visitor Experience: Tourists enjoy the stunning landscapes, abundant wildlife, and pristine natural beauty. The chance to spot the rare Ethiopian wolf and explore the scenic trails makes it a highlight for nature lovers.

10. Awash National Park

Description: Awash National Park is Ethiopia’s oldest national park, known for its volcanic landscapes, hot springs, and diverse wildlife. It is located in the Great Rift Valley, offering a range of natural attractions.

Must-See Sites:

  • Awash River Gorge
  • Filwoha Hot Springs
  • Oryx and Soemmerring’s gazelle

Visitor Experience: Visitors are captivated by the park’s dramatic scenery, including the Awash River Gorge and the park’s abundant wildlife. The hot springs and the chance to see rare animals in their natural habitat provide a memorable safari experience.


Ethiopia’s visa-free entry policy for 122 countries is a game-changer for its tourism industry. By simplifying travel procedures and eliminating visa fees, Ethiopia is poised to attract a surge of international visitors, boosting its economy and enhancing its global tourism profile. With significant investments in infrastructure, a focus on developing accommodations, and a range of attractions that cater to diverse interests, Ethiopia is well on its way to becoming a top global travel destination. The combination of historical landmarks, natural beauty, and cultural richness makes Ethiopia an irresistible destination for tourists worldwide. As the country continues to improve its facilities and services, the benefits of increased tourism will likely ripple through its economy, creating jobs, generating revenue, and fostering cultural exchange. This progressive approach not only underscores Ethiopia’s commitment to developing its tourism sector but also sets a precedent for other nations looking to capitalize on their unique attractions and hospitality.

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